Communities for Men
OF LA HAYE AUX BONSHOMMES
is known that our Order, from the beginning, was especially instituted
for preaching and for the salvation of souls. That is why our efforts
must tend principally towards making us useful to the souls of our
neighbours. To this specific end are intimately united the teaching
and the defense of the truth of the Catholic Faith, both by the
spoken word and by numerous writings. It is necessary, then, that
we pursue this end by preaching and by teaching out of the abundance
of our contemplation, according to the example of our Father Saint
Dominic who in order to save souls, spoke only to God or of God."
(Constitutions of the Order of Friar Preachers).
(1170-1221) was a canon regular in Spain. During a trip in 1203
in the South of France, infested at that time with Albigensian heretics,
he realized that the keeper of the inn where he was spending the
night was a heretic. Immediately he endeavored to convert him and,
after a night of discussing, succeeded. The historians will mark
this episode as one of the turning points in the life of St. Dominic.
Soon after, Providence will lead the saint to dedicate himself to
the conversion of heretics and to found the Order of Friar Preachers,
instituted from its birth for the preaching of doctrine against
rediscovery of the apostolic ideal in the course of the thirteenth
century is the stroke of genius that allowed him to re-launch mission
activity in all of Christendom and beyond. But what is this apostolic
ideal? "For St. Peter, the ministry consists first of all
in prayer, secondly in preaching ; the administration of sacraments
does not come until after, as a secondary thing, that the Apostles
often left to deacons for the sacrament of baptism, or to priests,
for baptism and other sacraments." (Father Emmanuel, Treatise
of the Ecclesiastical Ministry, ch. 2). This is our Dominican life.
for us, we will be devoted entirely to prayer” (Acts 6:4).
are contemplatives. In the friaries reign the monastic observances:
liturgical prayer (office solemnly recited in choir every day),
meditation, silence, chapter of faults (where each accuses himself
before the community of exterior faults against the Constitutions
and the common life, which stimulates the humility and fervor of
the community). This contemplative life develops under the care
of Our Lady: the meditation of the Holy Rosary (entrusted by the
Virgin Mary to the Dominican Order) illuminates the actions of the
"We will be devoted entirely to prayer and to the ministry
of the Word." (Acts 6:4). To contemplate and to give
to others what one has contemplated. (Motto of the Dominican
life must flow upon souls and lead them to God. So our apostolate
does not consist only in our life of prayer and sacrifice, it is
exteriorized by the preaching of doctrine; the Dominican Order has
always had the mission in the Church to protect the truth, to illustrate
and to defend dogma, to expose the mystery of the faith. It is necessary
to teach doctrine, but is also necessary to defend it against heretics,
for our love for the truth is shown by the hatred we bear towards
error, according to the formula of Tertullian. The names of St.
Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas come immediately to mind,
and also more recently that of Father Garrigou-Lagrange in Rome
or Father Pinon in the Philippines. But one should also mention
a multitude of Dominican apostles like Blessed Alphonse Navarette
and his companions, martyrs in Japan; the great St Vincent Ferrer;
the illustrious Peter of Verona, inquisitor, martyr (+1253)... The
Dominican apostolate includes all forms of preaching: missions,
retreats, publications. When one considers the present collapse
of Christendom, it is evident that the work to be done is gigantic.
But this predication, nourished by a contemplative and monastic
life is also prepared by intense study. Unlike the life of monastic
orders, in the Dominican life study has an essential place. This
was in fact, the great novelty of the Dominican order during the
thirteenth century: in the Friaries, study replaced manual work.
The truth that the preacher studies is the revealed supernatural
Truth. The science of the preacher is theology. He studies it especially
in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, the most illustrious of the
sons of St. Dominic, whom the Church has made her Doctor Communis.
Study constitutes for him a direct preparation for teaching and
for the ministry of the Word, but also it helps him in the meditation
of the Divine Truth. The science of the contemplative is the science
of the faith inflamed by charity, illuminated by the gifts of the
Holy Ghost. It is the science that makes one see everything with
the eye of God Himself.
OF THE SACRAMENTS “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach”
(1 Cor. 1:17)
of the sacraments is just the final result of the apostolate which
cannot consist essentially in this administration of the sacraments
but above all in preparing souls to receive the sacraments fruitfully.
Divine grace will then fall on ground that has been prepared to
receive it and it will then bear much fruit. Since the vocation
of Dominican priests is apostolic, they administer above all the
sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance, and the other sacraments
only rarely, unlike secular priests. They have a different mission;
that is the richness of the Church.
: A PRIESTLY ORDER: “Your Father Dominic, my beloved son”,
God said to St Catherine of Sienna, “willed that his brothers
have no other thought than that of my honor and the salvation of
souls, by the light of science. It is this light that he willed
to be the principal object of his Order... in order to extirpate
the heresies that had risen up at his time. HIS ROLE WAS THAT OF
THE WORD, MY ONLY SON...” The Dominican life embodies the most
complete imitation of the life led by Jesus Christ during the time
of His stay among us.
PRIEST in order
to imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Sovereign Priest.
order to be priest more perfectly, in order to imitate more closely
Our Lord Jesus Christ poor, chaste and obedient.
in order to nourish himself on God, known through faith as Our Lord
nourished Himself by the contemplation of His Father, face to face.
order to carry out the mission of the Word.
objects of devotion in the Order are:
- the most
- the Blessed
Virgin Mary, invoked especially in her Rosary - which resumes the
whole Gospel and all of Christian Doctrine
- prayer for
the souls in Purgatory.
have an important role in the Order. Their work ensures the smooth
functioning of the material side of community life: the kitchen,
the sacristy, office work, the garden, the laundry... They cooperate
at their place, in the common work of the apostolate, that they
support by their life of prayer and work consecrated to God, as
well as by other tasks (catechism, hospitality...)
Dominican community exists in France; it wishes to live faithfully
the spirit of St. Dominic and the traditions of the Order. All the
priests of the community have been ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre
or by the bishops he consecrated.
Fr. Innocent Marie, the actual prior (in August 2000)
with Bishop A. de Galarreta, SSPX
For more information,
write to :
Congregation of St. Dominic
Friary of La Haye aux Bonshommes